What if My Parents Can't Forgive Me?
- Thursday, December 26, 2013
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QUESTION: I am 21 years old and very active in my church. Although I have a serious boyfriend (who also has a heart for the church) we're not yet ready to marry so I am still living with my parents and younger siblings. My parents love God, but they aren't as committed to the Church as I am, and they give me a lot of grief for my active volunteer schedule. I keep getting into arguments with my dad, who wants me to be at home more, like when I was younger. But I really feel God has called me to be active in my church, and my dad keeps hinting (in anger) that I should just move out. The trouble is I know it would break my mom's heart if I left over this issue, and I want to be around for my little siblings as they're growing up.
When I pray about leaving, God gives me peace; I know he is with me wherever I go. My fear is that my parents won't forgive me, will become bitter toward the Church, and will think I don't love them enough to follow their wishes. Do you have any advice?
I understand having parents who don’t quite understand the “calling” and “commitment” bit. Although I wasn’t living at home at the time, my ministry did (and still does) take precedence over regular visits with my family.
If you try to see it from their standpoint, you may begin to understand how “anti-tangible” it may seem to them.
Why would a person put so much time into something they aren’t compensated for?
What are you gaining in exchange from being away from home so much?
When will all of your work pay off?
Why sacrifice your family for all of this?
From a very young age, we are groomed to predominantly think about ourselves, and what you are doing is contrary to how most of the world operates.
Your calling and commitment is interfering with what your father wants, expects and is accustomed to and there is only one way to settle this.
It’s time for a family meeting!
The most effective way you’re going to get a clear message of how your parents truly feel and for them to appreciate your beliefs (or at least hear you out) is to sit them both down and discuss it.
Depending how boisterously your family communicates, it may even be prudent to take them out to dinner where no one can walk away, let their emotions go wild and where everyone has to speak in a civilized manner.
Share your heart with them for your ministry minus a lot of the Christian vocabulary. Sometimes our “Christian-ese” tends to lose our audience. Find out what your father desires from you and try to work it into your schedule. Maybe he just wants a family dinner each week, a family outing every month or just a time to be together.
Whatever it may be, try not to allow this to come between you and your parents. Remember we are all living out our faith in front of those around us, even those who know the Lord.
Life is full of crossroads, and you are at one of them. I know it's tough, but with God you can get through it. Let me try and sort out some of the things I am hearing you say and give you my honest opinion of what to do.
First, while 21 is very young, you are also legally an adult. I can hear from your letter that you are already making decisions as an adult. However, by living at home I believe you have taken on the responsibility of listening to your parents (unless you are living there as a tenant). If you are not paying your full share of the expenses to live there, you are in fact, still living like a child. A child that needs to respect her parents.
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